Students from Ringmer Community College and Priory School, Lewes, were presented with a baton last week that is expected to be passed between young people every two years for 150 years.
Launched at the Coastal Communities 2150 Project on Wednesday February 12, the aim for the two-year pilot is to give the young people a special insight into the effects of sea level rise and ways of dealing with this over the unfolding 150 years.
Over time they can explore how young people themselves can play a role and influence events on the ground.
The idea was put forward by Dr John Parry.
Dr Parry is director of the Lewes Railway Land Project, and has been backed by the Environment Agency.
The initiative forms an important part of the legacy of CC2150 and continues the support Dr Parry has given the project as a whole.
The Chairman of the Environment Agency, Lord Chris Smith, addressed invitees from across Europe at the closing conference of the project.
In his keynote address at the Thistle Hotel, Brighton, he told the conference long-term climate change will increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.
By planning for climate change we can take these risks into consideration, spend wisely on adaption, and ensure the long-term sustainability of our communities, he said.
When there are difficult choices to make we must engage communities and business to involve them in finding solutions.
The Environment Agency, lead partner in CC2150, has spent two years working in the lower Ouse valley and coastal areas.
In January 2012 the Coastal Futures Group was formed to guide the project.
Residents, town and parish councillors and representatives from education and the local environment were invited to join and have met every six weeks.
In February 2014 the group completed ‘Waking up to tomorrow’.
This is their vision and action plan for how the valley might adapt to long-term climate change.
A crucial part of this action plan is encouraging members of the community to play a lead role in awareness raising and adaption.
Across Europe communities face shared challenges as a result long term coastal change.
Engaging communities and businesses with long-term coastal change has been at the heart of the Coastal Communities 2150 Project since it was founded.